Like many children her age, my daughter is experimenting with language, and can find any number of comical (for grownups) uses for common words and figures of speech. One she has been using the past month or so has been, “I been looking all over for…” which is only incrementally different from her use of “I always wanted…” They are generally both used for things which she had in fact given absolutely no prior thought to – things that revealed themselves to be the very thing she wanted only in the moment of discovery.
These days, one of my prayer aids is a book of collected prayers of the Northumbria Community. Every morning, I am called upon to answer the question “who is it that you seek?” With the words, “[I] seek the Lord our God.” I am then asked whether I seek God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength – and to each of these four questions, it is suggested that I answer, “Amen. Lord have mercy.”
I am grateful that they do not suggest that I say, “Yes.” I wish it were true, by the help of the Holy Spirit, that I was undivided in my seeking after God, that I could say that I was all in, body, mind, and soul. But “O to Grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!” I do well not to forget it – to forget neither the wish to be whole-heartedly God’s, nor my reliance on God’s mercy as a divided person. I am glad that this prayer book of mine requires that I face this reality squarely every morning.
Every morning, that is, except for those mornings when I blow off my prayers, saying I’ll make up for it later in the day. Which usually I then fail to do.
How often, when I encounter the living God, do I persuade myself (without the excuse of a preschooler’s grasp of English) that I have “been looking all over” for God? The truth is too often that I am rolling along as if God were not on my mind at all, and then – oh, look! There’s God! I been looking all over for this!
I pray that, in the days ahead, I truly would be looking all over for God, every hour of the day.